Introduction (February 2013)
Helen Moorwood

The Stanleys I am concerned with primarily on this website are the early ones in the North West, i.e. from the first Stanley to arrive in the Wirral, Cheshire from Staffordshire in the 14th century - until James Stanley, 7th Earl of Derby, beheaded in 1651. Also included are all the various junior branches which had developed during this period. Although interested in their stories in their own right, their main interest for me was as a highly significant family in the research on two historical figures: Pilgrim Father Captain Myles Standish and the Bard William Shakespeare.

Other Stanley websites have different aims and emphases. The one I have the highest respect for, particularly for his work on the early Stanleys, is Stanley Family Genealogy at run by Brian S(tanley) Roberts, with whom I have been in regular touch. One of his aims is to trawl through all archives and publications by historical societies, scanning in documents and references of relevance to Stanleys, particularly the early Stanleys.


My first book on the Stanleys is Shakespeare’s Stanley Epitaphs in Tong, Shropshire, RJL Smith & Associates, 2013. This, by definition, is restricted to exploring all relevant references to proving beyond all reasonable doubt that Shakespeare did in fact write two Verse Epitaphs for Sir Edward Stanley (1562-1632), first cousin of Ferdinando, 5th Earl of Derby and his brother William, 6th Earl of Derby. These three Stanleys all receive their own pages on this website. The Family Trees reproduced from this book are:

  1.  Early STANLEYS of HOOTON (Cheshire) & LATHOM (Lancashire)
  2. STANLEYS contemporary with Sir Thomas (b. c.1534) & Sir Edward (d. 1632)


Family Trees 3-6 are based on the Stanley ‘classics’ with no further research. They have been included as an attempt to explain for myself the composition of families who have left memorials still to be seen today, particularly in Lancashire and Cheshire. Admirable as various attempts are on various websites to present all details of descent in a complex list form, the families only make sense to me when in a Family Tree.

The books which still remain as ‘classics’ on the early Stanleys are:

John Seacome, Memoirs: containing a genealogical and historical account of the ancient and honourable house of Stanley, from the Conquest to the death of James late Earl of Derby, in the year 1725; as also a full description of the Isle of Man, etc., Liverpool, 1741. Updates and reprints (later ones sometimes under another title): Manchester 1767, Manchester 1783, Preston 1793, Liverpool 1801.

Barry Coward, The Stanleys, Lords Stanley and Earls of Derby, 1385-1672: The origins, wealth and power of a landowning family, Chetham Society 3rd Series, vol. XXX, Manchester, 1983.

J. J. Bagley, The History of the Earls of Derby, Sidgwick and Jackson, 1985.

Peter E. Stanley, The House of Stanley from the 12th Century, Pentland Press, 1998.


Further pages in future will be given clearly on the Stanley Index page, as and when they have been prepared for uploading.

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